chapter  9
16 Pages

Early childhood education professionals in New Zealand kindergartens

Commitment and challenges
WithJenny Ritchie, Marika Veisson

The New Zealand early childhood care and education profession has since 1996 been guided by a holistic, integrated, bicultural national early childhood education curriculum, Te Whāriki: He whāriki mātauranga mō ngā mokopuna o Aotearoa. At the time of its promulgation, this document was viewed as both innovative and challenging. Yet over the past two decades it’s wisdom has come to be widely recognised, and it has hugely influenced early childhood care and education practice both nationally and more widely. The philosophy and pedagogical approach of Te Whāriki has also underpinned the model of narrative early childhood education pedagogical documentation known as ‘learning stories’. This chapter reports on the understandings of eleven New Zealand kindergarten teachers who, in individual interviews, were asked a range of questions asking them to outline their background, philosophies and pedagogical practices in relation to professionalism, quality early childhood care and education practice, and sustainability.